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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, November 17, 2023 – Some action prior to the annual glut of Thanksgiving weekend racing, which includes this week’s opening of the Fair Grounds and Wednesday’s Tampa Bay Downs 2023-24 racing seasons, with Gulfstream’s championship season not far behind, DEC 1 to be precise.

We’re sticking close to home, that is to say the East and Midwest, and look at some interesting spots at Aqueduct, Churchill and the aforementioned Gulfstream, where the new turf course will debut to coincide with prime meet opener.

To the Midwest we go for some down and dirty selections:


PRELIMINARY ALLOWANCES                                                Race 5

MOST PROBABLE WINNER [MPW]: 2-Double Clutch (5-2) improved when turned back into sprint, has some tactical speed, can kick, game placing in last despite rough trip.

BEST VALUE [BV]:  5-Straight and Level (8-1) will likely be half the price or less ante post. Good figures, moving forward while breaking maiden in KD turf debut.

TOTE BUSTER EXOTIC [TBX]: 11-Foxtrotanna (12-1) is dropping from a Grade 2 and has high early speed. Blinkers off and switch to Saez augurs well for low percentage barn that does well with grass runners.

OPTIONAL ALLOWANCES                                                        Race 9

MPW:  6-Strong Quality (5-2) has improved on turf, owns controlling speed and dropping from series of stakes, two of which were Grade 1 and last win was with Geroux in the boot.

BV:  12-Street Ready (10-1) working bullets following recent Maker claim and switches to Tyler; likely will be half the price ante post.*

TBX:  2-Johny’s Fireball (9-2) has been consistent since Norm Casse’s claim; 1-fir-1 over course and 2-for-2 at the trip; well posted with Saez on the re-ride.*

*updated changes 4:53 on 111723

Grade 3 CHILUKKI STAKES                                                      Race 10

MPW:  9-Hot And Sultry (7-2) in a wide, wide open event taking a sizable class drop from Grade 1s, has excellent early speed, has won at the trip, well drawn outside, brilliant workline and is 1-for-1 beneath Tyler.

BV:  1-Nostalgic (9-2) is much improved at 4, fitting the Mott patience profile, is fastest on the Thoro-Graph scale, exits a strongly run mile and a winner at the G3 level.

TBX:  5-She Can’t Sing (8-1) won this last year and looks to repeat in her racing swan song.


NOTEBOOK STAKES                                                         Race 4

MPV:  3-Angelos the Great (2-1) broke maiden under exact scenario three back; uber conditioned turning back, reuniting with Franco.

BV:  6-Works For Me (5-2) is back on dirt, back with state-breds and attracts Irad.

XTB:  7-Perliano (10-1) has moved forward in all career starts,, improved big time with blinkers; trainer profitable with non-graded stakes runners.

G2 HILL PRINCE (1-1)                                                                 Race 5

MPW: 4-Integration (1-1) is 2-for-2 lifetime, fast on the Thoro-Graph scale, good energy distribution and has won at 9 furlongs.

BV: 5-Faraday (10-1) is 2-for-2 since adding blinkers ad working purposefully for stakes debut.

XTB:  8-I’m Very Busy (6-1) continues to march forward and has shown an affinity for this course.

AQUEDUCT TURF SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP                             Race 9

MPW: 4-Our Shot (5-2) exits series of fast races and was game second in a Keeneland G2 last out, now gets Irad.

BV:  11-Thin White Duke (5-1) never fails to fire, two wins on this course and reuniting with winning partner Lezcano.

XTB: 12-Dancing Buck (10-1) loves this course, speedy stalker gets Carmouche and trainer is profitable in LAY-3 scenarios.

this is a live column and will be updated throughout the weekend

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4 Responses

  1. I had a laugh regarding the quick-witted “A Few Plays To Pass Time” lead in John. My Pre-K grandson Griffin might add an equally clever “A Few Plays To Help Pass the Gas Papa”.

    I like your two closers Ex Box angle in the GP FRA as well today John. Riders Up and Pass the beans please.

  2. The problem with two closers is sometimes the speed forgets to run with the speed, the case yesterday as one got away–too easily. Didn’t matter, top choice was terrible.
    Getting a late start today; maybe that will help?

  3. Integration closed like a BC level horse if those fractions were correct. Could not have looked more dominant but on the other hand those were def not Chad’s A team running against him. Still he looks like he earned a shot at a big GP graded stake. Not sure about Pegasus Turf, that might be a bit too much to bite off considering his inexperience as a late starting 3yo- the talent is there though

    1. Agree that he was mighty impressive and was ridden with disdainful confidence by Kendrick, who has always excellent on the grass. Hope he keeps that mount, he’s deserving of a “big hoss.”
      As far as where Integration ranks among the three year old turf runners, Cherie Devaux might have something to say about that.
      Anyway, he could be worth a Pegasus run–just as long as Up To The Mark remains in the barn.

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